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Wednesday open thread: Where does the NFC North rank among other NFL divisions?

One writer doesn’t think the NFC North will stack up this year.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Though the Green Bay Packers have dominated the NFC North over the past decade or two and the Detroit Lions have never won the division as it has been called the NFC North, it has actually remained extremely competitive for a while now. The Bears, Vikings, Packers and Lions have all had a taste of the postseason in the past seven years, and everyone but Detroit has finished atop the division in that span.

But where does the division stack among the others in the NFL? Back in March, Packers general manager Ted Thompson called the division “extraordinarily difficult” and extremely underappreciated.

However, Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon ranked all eight divisions in the league and the NFC North came up seventh. “Green Bay should be better after a tough-luck season,” Gagnon writes. “But nobody else is a contender here.”

So today’s Question of the Day is:

Where does the NFC North rank among other divisions in the NFL for 2017?

My answer: I think Gagnon is way off in his assessment. I think the division has three legitimate contenders not only for the playoffs, but I would argue that a few teams could even contend for the NFC crown.

As pointed out by Gagnon himself, the NFC North finished with a respectable 30-34 record last year. That alone ranks them fourth in the NFL among divisions, and that’s with the Bears pulling the entire division down thanks to a 3-13 record. Everyone else in the North finished .500 or better.

The Vikings promise to be healthier team next year, meaning they’re going to be right back in there to compete for the division. The Packers still have Aaron Rodgers. The Lions have Matthew Stafford in the prime of his career, a healthy backfield and a defense that cannot be any worse than last year.

This is a division that has sent two teams to the playoffs in seven of the last eight years, and I fully expect them to again in 2017. The only divisions I would put ahead of the NFC North right now is the AFC West and the NFC South. I think the NFC North is the third-hardest division.

Your turn.


Where does the NFC North rank in the NFL?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    1st (hardest)
    (44 votes)
  • 16%
    (82 votes)
  • 31%
    (154 votes)
  • 30%
    (151 votes)
  • 9%
    (46 votes)
  • 2%
    (14 votes)
  • 0%
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    8th (easiest)
    (2 votes)
495 votes total Vote Now

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